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Massachusetts Implements Policies To Reduce Correctional Officer Suicides
By wgbh.org- Marilyn Schairer
Published: 09/20/2019

Massachusetts is taking steps to address ways to lessen the risk of suicides among correctional officers.

A report released in June 2019 by a state-formed legislative commission found that 16 active or retired correctional officers in Massachusetts prisons have taken their own lives between 2010 and 2015.

“It was primarily an epidemic,” said Kevin Flanagan, who worked for 20 years as a correctional officer in some of the state's toughest prisons — the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, a maximum security prison, and MCI-Cedar Junction, formerly known as MCI-Walpole, a maximum security prison with an average daily population of approximately 800 adult male inmates.

“To be on the front lines working with an inmate population which sometimes can be volatile and dangerous, that stress falls on the shoulders of officers,” Flanagan said. “And when you leave those walls ... sometimes that stress, you take home with you.”

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